Swimming, golf, tennis, basketball, soccer, hiking, fishing and taekwondo are among the activities children attending PartnerSports Camp are participating in this summer.
Approximately 70 children signed up for the two-week camp, which is split almost evenly between children with disabilities and partners charged with assisting them.
“Partners come and they have no idea what kind of disability their camper will have,” said staff member Susan Acree. “To see them interact throughout the camp, it’s amazing the relationships they’re able to develop.”
Tyler Ott was partnered with Sage Villa, and on Tuesday afternoon the two of them, along with the rest of the campers, learned to play golf. They started off putting on the green at Stewart Park Golf Course, before making their way over to the driving range. In another area of the course, campers tried a chipping challenge where they tried to get a golf ball inside a hula hoop.
It was Sage’s fourth time volunteering as a partner for the camp.
“I heard about it through school,” she said. “It’s helping the community and it’s fun.”
Tyler said, “My parents didn’t want me and my brothers to be bored this summer.”
There’s not much time for boredom at the PartnerSports camp. The camp runs on a tight schedule for each activity, including road trips.
Sage was looking forward to hiking, while Treyson Cooper said he was most looking forward to fishing. He participated in the camp last year and was unable to catch a fish, but is hoping to do better next Tuesday at Bowman Pond.
“I suck at fishing, but we also get s’mores,” Treyson elaborated.
Several other campers enjoyed the daily swim at YMCA of Douglas County pool.
The camp is coordinated by the Douglas Education Service District and YMCA of Douglas County.
“They’re all encouraging one another,” Acree said.
PartnerSports was started 14 years ago as Camp Shriver, named after Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a huge supporter of the Special Olympics. It was one of six camps in the nation, but the only on the West Coast despite the fact that Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s son-in-law Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor of California at the time.